Frequently Asked Questions about the BID

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a designated area within which all businesses have agreed, following an independent ballot, to pay a BID levy for improvements to jointly procure the infrastructure and services in that area.

  1. How are the BID projects in the business plan chosen?
  2. The projects in the BID Business Plan are based on the ideas put forward by businesses through the various meetings, questionnaires and surveys that take place during the Summer of 2017. The most popular ideas have been researched, costed and included to ensure that they can be delivered.
  3. What if everyone votes ‘YES’?
  4. Just like a political election, there is no minimum turnout required. If a majority of businesses (both in terms of total number and overall rateable value) vote positively, all businesses in the Astmoor Industrial Area will be asked to contribute into the BID, even if they voted no. The money collected will be ring-fenced, and held in the BID account for sole use by the BID to deliver projects set out in the BID Business Plan.
  5. What if the majority vote no?
  6. Very simply, the projects set out in the BID Business Plan will not go ahead. As a result, Astmoor Industrial Area could fall behind other comparable industrial areas and businesses parks, especially those with established BIDs who are tackling their issues head on.
  7. What if I don’t vote?
  8. Much like a general election, there is no minimum turnout for a BID. So, if you don’t vote, it will not affect the outcome of the ballot in any way.
  9. Who has to pay the BID levy?
  10. If we get a ‘YES’ vote, any person, registered company, or charity who is a business occupier or leaseholder within the BID area and responsible for paying business rates as of 1.4.18 would pay the levy, assuming that a positive outcome is achieved. Property landlords only become liable where the property is empty and a lease does not exist.
  11. Are there any exemptions on the BID levy?
  12. The Astmoor BID is inclusive of all businesses large and small, which we think is fair. All businesses within the Astmoor Industrial Area as of 1.4.18, will therefore contribute towards the BID. Phone masts, AGMs and advertising boards are excluded.
  13. What will the BID cost me?
  14. The amount you pay will be based on your individual business rateable value and so smaller businesses pay less than larger businesses. The rateable values are banded and capped.
  15. Which rateable value will be used to calculate my BID contribution?
  16. The 2017 listings. These figures, as well as the opportunity for you to check your rateable value, are available via www.voa.gov.uk If you have had your rateable value reassessed the revised rateable value will be used.
  17. Isn’t this just a way for councils to save money?
  18. No, BIDs are 100% business led and business controlled. Also, legally BIDs cannot replace existing public services already provided by public bodies such as the council, police and others. In that way, the BID only improves current standards and does not subsidise or replace them, which guarantees value for money for businesses. BIDs actually hold councils and police accountable to ensure the area is well serviced.
  19. Who would run the BID?
  20. BIDs are 100% business led and are operated as not-for-profit, limited-by-guarantee organisations that are led entirely by business people and made up of key business and other representatives within the BID area. On Astmooor, the BID is currently run by Halton Chamber of Commerce. An Executive Board exists, drawn from volunteers on Astmoor and all businesses throughout the industrial area will have an opportunity to be on the BID3 Executive Board.
  21. Why do businesses have to pay for all of this – why isn’t someone else paying for it?
  22. A BID delivers new or enhanced projects that no one else has to or will deliver. BID income cannot be used to pay for services that are already being provided. In this sense, the BID will add value by delivering additional activities in the Astmoor Industrial Area, which cannot be funded or delivered by others. This is our opportunity as businesses take control of their trading environment and implement the changes we want to see that would not otherwise go ahead.
  23. What’s in it for me?
  24. The proven business benefits of a BID are that they give businesses a greater voice and create a fair system of contribution towards key improvements that businesses have collectively identified and requested. This business plan sets out the projects and improvements we will implement and we have budgeted for a contingency fund too, so we can be responsive to even more ideas and projects. Please contact diane.robinson@halton.gov.uk if you have any ideas for potential BID projects for BID3.
  25. What benefits do BIDs bring to everyone?
  26. Experience across the country has shown that BIDs have resulted in the following key benefits:
    • Raised the profile of the area.
    • Reduced levels of crime.
    • Reduced the number of vacant commercial properties.
    • Reduced the individual business costs through joint projects.
    • Made physical improvements to the area.>
    • Given businesses a powerful, united voice on key issues.
    • Built local pride in the industrial area.
    • Enabled businesses to be more involved in community projects.
    • Created a more pleasant environment for employees and clients.
  27. How will the BID be evaluated?
  28. At the start of the BID term (1st April 2018) we will obtain accurate local data including crime statistics (by date, area and type) and number of vacant commercial properties. By gathering and benchmarking data at the start of the BID term we will be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Astmoor BID to all businesses. Based on local data and other key performance targets and activities, the Astmoor Executive Board will establish a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which the performance of the BID will be monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis. We will invite all businesses to feed into the creation of KPIs at the start of the BID term. The KPIs will ensure the Astmoor BID is accountable to all levy payers and that its’ performance is regularly monitored in a structured way by the Astmoor BID Executive Board.

    The Astmoor Estates Manager will issue regular updates (minimum quarterly) to the Executive Board that reference performance against the KPIs and also feed back to the Astmmor Steering Group so that all levy payers can keep up to date on BID activities and progress. Performance figures against the KPIs will also be published to this website and evaluated by the BID Executive Board on a quarterly basis. They will also be discussed at the BID AGM to which all levy payers will be invited.

  29. Will the BID look for other sources of funding?
  30. Yes. The BID will pursue other sources of funding and support, both cash and in-kind, including commercial sponsorship, income generation and voluntary contributions from businesses, landlords, landowners and arrangements. The BID Estates Manager will also apply for grant funding and identify public sector funding that can be used as match-funding.
  31. Who will I pay my levy to?
  32. You will receive an invoice from Halton Borough Council on behalf of the Astmoor BID each April. We have to use the council as they have the systems to invoice and collect the money – they will transfer all of it to Halton Chamber of Commerce and the BID account as BIDs are 100% business managed and business controlled.
  33. Who can vote?
  34. All eligible business ratepayers will be entitled to vote if they were listed as a non-domestic rate payer within the proposed BID area on 1.4.17. Businesses with more than one business premises will receive a vote for each of the eligible premises.
  35. When will the BID start and end?
  36. If successful, the Astmoor BID will formally commence in April 2018. The BID will cover a five-year period between April 2018 and March 2023. Before the end date, Halton Chamber of Commerce may seek a renewal for a further BID term, and seek a new mandate via a renewal ballot.
  37. Can BID projects be altered?
  38. BID Projects, costs and timescales can be altered subject to approval from the BID Executive Board, providing they fall within the resources available.
  39. Will my levy change?
  40. No, the BID levy remain the same throughout the five-year BID term. If you are appealing your rates there will be no adjustments during the year to reflect changes in your rateable value due to appeals. Changes in values will be reflected in a corresponding levy change in the following year. Where a new assessment is brought into the ratings list, the BID levy will fall to the property owner until the following April. The owner will be entitled to vote in the BID ballot.
  41. Have BIDs worked elsewhere?
  42. Yes, there are over 200 BIDs already established across the UK with 35 BIDs in London alone. Nearby there are already established BIDs in Liverpool, Southport, Winsford, Chester, Manchester, and Wrexham.
  43. How do I know that the voting process is completely independent and confidential?
  44. The ballot papers and voting instructions are issued and counted by the Electoral Reform Services (ERS). As the UK’s leading independent provider of end-to-end ballot, election and voting services,thousands of organisations trust them to manage their ballot, election, vote, survey or referendum. Some have fewer than a hundred voters; others have more than a million. Their reputation as the UK’s leading independent scrutineer brings unrivalled integrity to their election results. Neither Halton Chamber of Commerce or Halton Borough Council receive any indication of how individuals have voted at any time during or after the vote, the only communication being the result at the end. You can find out more about ERS at www.electoralreform.co.uk